‘We are staying put’
NURSING HOME ROW ESCALATES AS TWO RESIDENTS REFUSE TO MOVE
RONNIE COUGHLAN and Paul Smith remain defiant in their continuing refusal to vacate the Orchard Nursing Home, calling its closure an ‘illegal eviction.’ As the HSE prepares to spend an estimated €1.5 million on private nursing homes for the Orchard evictees, an independent fire expert has put the cost of bringing the building up to standard at just €100,000. He said that the work could be done in around one month.
The people of Bray, meanwhile, are being invited to sign a petition to halt the demolition of the building on Killarney Road.
Just four residents remain there now, the quiet halls once filled with the buzz of activity now eerily silent.
Anxious residents watched last Friday as curtains were removed from the bedrooms and all the furniture in the home was labeled for removal.
Two of them are flat-out refusing to leave, while the other two feel that further clarification of what the future holds for them is needed before they agree to move.
‘There is an atmosphere of hatred in here at the moment,’ said a staff member. ‘There has been no actual guarantee made for the future, just empty promises of a smooth transition.’
Ronnie and Paul are determined not to move from the home, having been told just two weeks ago that the Orchard must close.
‘ It’s diabolical what has happened,’ said Ronnie. ‘Peo- ple have been pushed out of here. We are staying put.’
There were 35 patients at the Orchard and 20 staff members. Deputy Liz McManus has called for the HSE to make up for the loss of beds after the closure, expressing the hope that the closure is not part of a hidden agenda to get rid of public beds across the country. Age Action Ireland has also expressed concern stating that the closure of the facility should be a last resort.
‘Friends of the Orchard,’ was formed in the Royal Hotel last week as a reaction to the news that the nursing home on the Killarney Road is to close.
The group consists of members of staff, family mem- bers of residents, public representatives and a fireproofing expert. The organisation aims to ensure that the site on Killarney Road remains the location of a publicly owned and operated nursing home in the future. Strong criticism has been hurled at the HSE, owners of the home, over the past weeks since the announcement was made.
The announcement came with the production of a fire report that they said branded the building a hazard.
‘The manner in which the res- idents were informed and moved from the home has caused a lot of distress and anxiety amongst many of the elderly residents,’ said Cllr. John Brady. ‘Many of them are heartbroken at having to leave their home and their friends.’
The group welcomes the fact that an application will be made for Capital funding to have the Nursing home rebuilt, however they are not convinced of the need to demolish the existing nursing home.
‘We believe that the existing nursing home can be brought up the existing fire safety standards,’ said a spokesman.
The Friends of the Orchard are demanding a meeting with Professor Brendan Drumm who is Chief Executive of the HSE and also Minister for Health Mary Harney. There will be a public meeting in the Royal Hotel in Bray tomorrow at 8 p.m. all are welcome to attend.
Paul Smith and Ronnie Loughman who are refusing to leave Orchard Nursing Home.